Not America’s Got Talent

One of the people that follows me on Twitter sent me a link to a really interesting insight into the America’s Got Talent audition process. No doubt the show probably would have a different point of view on the audition process, but some of the comments are really enlightening considering a few of the items match the comment made by Sky and Vlad on my Fire Dancer post.

Here are some of the more interesting parts of the article:

Talk about a real “cattle call;” anyone who attended the “AGT” auditions in Boston knows that just the first step can mean hours of waiting to step in front of a producer, and your chances of going on to the next level (in front of the actual judges) are pretty much slim to none. That is unless you’ve got a gimmick like they sing about in the musical “Gypsy.” My gimmick? An ass named Firefly.

There is another equine performer already there[at the loading dock], Sunny the Miniature Trick Horse, the trainer is already worn down and frazzled from having been there since 6 that morning and even though they had an opportunity to practice on stage the waiting conditions in the heat and next to the idling semis had taken their toll. I realized earlier that this excessive wait time is carefully calculated to bring on the most emotional distress. I have never been involved in a production which required that people wait around for eight hours or longer in order to get on stage at the appointed time. Normal theatrical call time is two hours, so either this production crew is extremely incompetent or they are doing this to manipulate the outcome.

Sunny’s turn finally comes about 3 p.m. but when they come offstage you can see the disappointment in their eyes. Their mini-horse has missed some cues and did not perform well, even though he is a seasoned performer. I’m not surprised; most of us with performing animals are used to waiting to go on stage, but asking that an animal act wait nine hours to go on stage seems cruel by any standards. Once the production crew realized that the only available wait space for the equine performers was outside in the heat and parked alongside idling semi trucks they should have allowed us the flexibility to come in closer to our call time so we weren’t worn down by the abominable waiting conditions. Of course the rest of the performers were inside the theater with the AC and crew members to wait on them.

Although we were denied the opportunity to allow Firefly a chance to practice or to at least check out the stage, I knew the stage would be similar to the New York set so I hoped that he would remember what we would be walking into. Finally we step onto the stage about 8 p.m. and we are hit by a wall of sound. Keep in mind that this crew is not only manipulating the emotional responses of the people backstage they have also been messing with the audience, an audience that has been encouraged to have big reactions, be it positive or negative. To tell you the truth, I felt like I was stepping into the Roman Coliseum; some people were booing because I was walking onto the stage with an ass. Go figure.

I’m not surprised that Susan Boyle, this year’s big star of “Britain’s Got Talent,” suffered a nervous breakdown even though she placed second on the popular British television show. Think of all the hoops she had to jump through starting with the ridicule the first time she stepped onto the stage. I can only imagine what lies in store for those who go on to higher rounds in Las Vegas in this new season of “America’s Got Talent.” I know that last year they flew a lot of people out there then sent half of them home before they even got a chance to step onto the stage. For those who survived the second-round auditions for Season 4 of “AGT,” congratulations and good luck, and for those who did not go so far, keep working and entertaining the people and do not allow your future to hinge on what happened during your audition experience for this particular production company; there are so many other opportunities out there to really shine and be appreciated.

Certainly could be a bit of sour grapes, but I’m guessing that a lot of it was accurate. I just can’t imagine the show wanting them to wait so long so that they’re all frazzled. That doesn’t make much sense to me. I’d like to think that they just want everyone there in waiting so that they don’t have to stress about people being late or not. However, if they did come out and say that they made people wait it wouldn’t surprise me either.

The fact is that even on the show they talk about people having waited all day for the opportunity to be on the show. So, waiting isn’t necessarily news. Either way, this stuff is great fodder for fans of the show. I kind of like to take a small look behind the scenes of America’s Got Talent. I watch it to be entertained and they do a pretty good job of doing just that. Like I’ve told those auditioning a hundred times. Just remember that they’re trying to produce a great show, not produce your talent.